More specifically, I've been thinking about what it will actually take to really compete and perhaps win in 2007.
For me the answer is painfully obvious -- I have to lose weight. I have to lose 20 pounds to be exact. Why 20? That puts me at an even 200 pounds -- at which point I'm still racing as a Clydesdale, but as the lightest possible athlete in that category.
I am of course putting this in writing (here and now) to add a bit of public pressure to my otherwise unspoken goal, which immediately brings up a small problem.
A long time ago I figured out that I can't diet. Of course there is no physical reason that I can't diet. It's just that my body is weaker than my mind when it comes to resisting that extra cookie, cake or burger. I suspect you know what I mean. The mind says no, but the hand and mouth work in a lightning fast unison to get the cookie in the mouth and belly before the mind can come up with a sufficient defense.
"That cookie has over 200 calories," the mind will say. Then suddenly, "Mmmmm cookie," is the only thing the mind can add as the cookie is on the fast track to the belly.
This leaves me to once again ponder and dare I say embrace my ten step weight loss program, which in the past has allowed me to lose weight. These steps are, for lack of a better term, the "Everyman guide to Everyman who cannot diet, diet".
Please note that I am not a dietician, nor do I play one on television. So, if you follow my Everyman guide to Everyman who cannot diet, diet you most certainly may end up gaining weight.
However, I do think that these common sense steps have worked for me in the past -- at least 50 percent of the time, and hopefully they will work for me and perhaps you in 2007.
So here is the Everyman guide to Everyman who cannot diet, diet.
10) Brush your teeth after dinner. This is three minutes well spent. Not only is brushing your teeth after dinner great for your teeth, but it makes your mouth feel nice and clean. This feeling should make you less likely to snack because you'd just be spoiling that spearmint fresh taste with a Megaboxmart bag-o-chips.
9) No snacking after dinner. No late night snacks whatsoever! When you get hungry after the late night news, just think of breakfast and how good it will taste.
8) Eat a big healthy breakfast. I believe that most doctors would agree that a big healthy breakfast is the key to starting your day on the right foot (or so they told us in grade school.) It seems to me that too often I'll just gobble up some sort of power bar or miscellaneous refrigerator feed on my way out the door. More often than not, this just sets me up for a day of snacking and overeating.
7) Eat less as the day progresses. In other words, eat a big breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner. I tend to do the exact opposite -- which I suspect is the reason I still have that washtub and not washboard belly.
6) Avoid trigger foods like the plague. I'll keep it simple and define all trigger foods as fast foods. Have you ever noticed that once you have one Big Mac or Taco Bell burrito you'll start to crave another one the next day? So in 2007 there will be no fast food -- only fast race times.
Before I get to the top five, have you ever noticed that the second you try to lose weight, your body says to you, "So that's the way it's going to be? Let me show you who really runs things around here." Then before you know it, you've put on an additional three pounds.
It is almost as if your body is screaming that it likes your current weight. This is what makes losing weight for many of us so very difficult. The body has an internal scale, and it always seems to want to return to whatever weight that scale is set on.
I believe the pros call this yo-yoing. It's why so many diets fail. You can lose the weight, but you just can't keep yourself at the new and lighter level for very long. Before you know it, you really start to crave junk food. I mean really crave junk food -- well beyond the point of just wanting a snack. The most recent studies I've read suggest that this is a real and powerful physical reaction on the part of your body -- not just weak will.
I believe the real secret to losing weight and keeping it gone is a complete lifestyle change that resets your body's internal scale. By the way, dramatic weight loss (more than two pounds per week) seems to be a surefire way to ensure that you will yo-yo back to, or well beyond, your original starting weight.
Please note again that I'm not a dietician nor do I play one on TV. I have just tacked together little bits and pieces that work for me. However, if you would still prefer to throw the advice dice, here are the top five steps to the Everyman guide to Everyman who cannot diet, diet.
5) Slow way down. I have found that when I'm very hungry I tend to eat like a ravenous wolf after a long winter of eating nothing but snow and frozen tundra. I'm beginning to suspect that this is very bad for weight loss.
Have you noticed that the French have really got eating down to a culinary science? They only eat one course at a time. They won't eat until everybody at the table has been served, and when they do eat, the portions are very small. I may only be guessing here, but I suspect that all of this combined into one huge French eating tradition keeps them thin.
4) Run like hell from anything with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). The only good thing about High Fructose Corn Syrup is that it acts like a canary in a coal mine. If you see the stuff on the label, you are dealing with the lowest possible denominator of food.
Just think of HFCS like pig slop. It is what the food industry feeds us (out of the very bottom of the slop bucket) as the cheapest and worst substitute for sugar they can come up with.
For instance when you go to the grocery store and you see that two for one deal on "genuine Italian mushroom and olive pasta sauce," just read the small print on the label. The stuff is often loaded with HFCS.
3) Exercise more and eat less. By the way, that is the title of my next book.
Chapter one: Exercise more
Chapter two: Eat less
That will be $16.96 please, and don't forget the $3.00 for shipping and handling.
2) Only one dessert per day. Now this may seem like some common sense, dim witted advice -- and I should know all about dim witted advice -- but please read on. I define dessert as anything that is mostly sugar and/or contains lots of HFCS.
With this definition in mind a can of regular Coke or Pepsi is dessert. I also consider anything with tons of empty calories like a bag of chips as dessert. And just for the record, empty calories are those that come from simple sugars, starches or those unhealthy fats they are banning in Chicago and New York.
The good news is that you can have the stuff that tastes good like a Coke, a Snickers bar or a bag of Doritos, but only one "Bad Boy" per day. If I have a bag of chips with my lunch, I can't have a cookie for dessert. That's about as simple as I can make it.
1) You must really want it! At the end of the day, the only way I can and will lose weight is to want it -- more than I want that cookie after lunch. I need to have a realistic goal like breaking a 2:30 Olympic distance tri time, racing at my best possible weight or fitting into that strapless size six dress.
That's the Everyman guide to Everyman who cannot diet, diet. I'll let you know how I'm doing as the year goes on. Right now I just really want you to forget that one of my goals is to fit into that strapless size six dress.
Roman Mica is a Clydesdale amateur triathlete who lives and races in Boulder, Colorado and has his own web site www.EverymanTri.com. He is also one of the founding members of www.raceAthlete.com and he recently had his first book published, entitled My Training Begins Tomorrow: The Everyman's Guide to IRONFIT Swimming, Cycling & Running.